Navy veteran doubles as resident historian

Bruce McShannon, an 84-year-old retired navy veteran.
Photo: Lookout Newspaper.

Peter Mallett, 
Staff Writer

As a retired Navy veteran makes notes in a large red leather-bound book, he knows he keeps the residents’ legacy alive at Broadmead Care’s Veterans Memorial Lodge.

“It is important for people to know and remember what all our veterans did during their lives, so I am delighted to be working on this project,” said retired master sailor Bruce McShannon.

McShannon’s project, titled ‘Remembrance Book’, contains everyone who lives at Veterans Memorial Lodge long-term care home. His entries include the residents’ full names, years they lived, place of birth and a brief account of their military service.

Previous ‘Books of Remembrance’ had been kept at Veterans Memorial Lodge, but interest dwindled during the pandemic. Then, the resident-run political body Veterans Association, decided to call on Bruce for help.

“The book is a really good way to recognize the people of Veterans Memorial Lodge and what they did during their military service,” he said.

McShannon, 89, served 25 years in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) as a Weapons Technician. He served aboard HMCS Quebec, HMCS Resolute and HMCS Haida. He later worked as a Commissionaire at base security checkpoints for over 30 years before his retirement in 2018.

“I have been keenly interested in the stories of other veterans since moving to Veterans Memorial Lodge two years ago,” he said.

McShannon is also working on another project with the Veterans Association – a small museum at Veterans Memorial Lodge containing items McShannon collected since the Second World War.

“[My late uncle] was killed in Holland during the Second World War, and my aunt shared some of his collection with me that included Canadian and German hat badges and medals,” McShannon said.

McShannon’s collection of military artifacts dates as far back as a bayonet from the War of 1812 and contains hundreds of military medals, hat badges, photographs and other items. He purchased most from the classifieds section of military medals magazines, auctions and other collector’s events.

The museum at Veterans Memorial Lodge will display military medals, uniforms and other keepsakes and memorabilia the Lodge’s residents are willing to share. Currently, the plan is to display the museum’s contents in large glass display cases in the Lodge’s Oak Room and other care home locations.

Stained glass windows at the Veterans’ Memorial Lodge Chapel, made of broken fragments of glass from churches, abbeys and public buildings during the Second World War. Photos supplied

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